Summer may be winding down, but there's still time for one last vacation. Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to get away and enjoy the last rays of summer sun. We've rounded up five activities that will put the perfect cap on the season.
Color the Skies Hot Air Balloon & Kite Festival: Ripon, Calif.
Held at Mistlin Sports Park, Aug. 30 and 31, Color the Skies is the largest hot air balloon festival in the area. The two-day event is packed with activities, including a 20-balloon ascent, tethered balloon rides, a 5k/10k run, carnival rides and more. This year's event features new activities as well, including daily ice cream parties, a farmers market and an internet cafe. Ripon is accessible from the San Francisco area, located midway between Stockton and Modesto.
American Music Festival: Virginia Beach, Va.
Put some rock'n'roll into your Labor Day weekend. This beachfront music festival occurs all weekend from Friday through Sunday (Aug. 29-31). Four major bands headline the event, including Train, Hunter Hayes, Blues Traveler and more. A limited number of three-day passes are available, which include seats in a separate viewing area, heavy hors d'oeuvres and two free drinks. Pets are not allowed.
Great Lake Tahoe Sternwheeler Race: South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
For the 22nd year, this four-mile race (Saturday, Aug. 30) along the Lake Tahoe shoreline features two of South Shore's paddlewheel boats, The Tahoe Queen and M.S. Dixie II. Passengers are welcome aboard either boat, where brunch and drinks will be served. Boarding begins at 10 am, and the race begins at 11 am. South Lake Tahoe also features several campgrounds with amenities ranging from beach access or heated swimming pools to wi-fi, general stores and laundry. If camping isn't your style, find rustic cabins, luxurious resorts or rental homes nearby.
Park City Miner's Day: Park City, Utah
Founded in 1884, Park City has a long history as a mining town. Their annual Labor Day celebration is held in honor of that heritage and raises money for local non-profits. The highlight of the day is the popular Running of the Balls. Participants purchase numbered balls which are released down Main Street. The first ball to the bottom wins the grand prize, while 10 runners up take home additional prizes—and a parade follows the Running of hte Balls. More events mark the festival, including a 5K Fun Run and kids' races, sporting events and live music.
Dragon*Con: Atlanta, Georgia
Comics fans, rejoice! The sprawling multi-media and pop culture convention is held for two days (Aug. 30-Sept. 1), and is the largest of its kind. Held at five participating hotels—The Marriott Marquis, Hyatt Regency, Hilton, Sheraton and Westin Peachtree Plaza—this year's event is set to feature guests including Evanna Lynch ("Harry Potter"), Billy Boyd ("Lord of the Rings"), Giancarlo Esposito ("Breaking Bad") and so many more. Hotels will be packed with cosplay stars, comics writers and illustrators, vendors and panel sessions. Book a hotel now, because the city's bound to get busy.